As founding High Priest of the Church of Satan, Anton Szandor LaVey was
one of the most remarkable voices in late 20th century religion, and
"The Satanic Rituals" is a key text in his body of work. This volume,
which is an ideal companion to LaVey's "Satanic Bible," makes available
some rituals for practicing Satanists.
LaVey's rituals have an
eclectic, even multicultural, flavor. According to him, the rites in
this book have French, German, Russian, and Middle Eastern roots. He
also includes rituals inspired by the fictional mythology created by
H.P. Lovecraft, a writer of distinctive horror fiction. Although mostly
geared towards group activities, many of the texts in this book could be
adapted to solitary use.
The book is not without flaws and
inconsistencies. Whereas some of the rituals appear in bilingual format,
others contain untranslated foreign language elements. And although
bibliographic references are scattered throughout the text, the book as a
whole lacks a comprehensive bibliography. Also, some of the rituals
seem a bit impractical. The introduction to the "elektrischen
Vorspiele," for example, warns the practitioner of "the danger of
serious injury or electrocution"!
Despite these drawbacks, this
is an intriguing book. Both the rituals and the introductory essays are
fascinating. LaVey even suggests appropriate musical accompaniment for
these dark rituals. Rites in the book include a version of the legendary
Black Mass, the Ceremony of the Stifling Air (inspired by the history
of the Knights Templar), and Satanic baptismal rites (both child and
adult). If you have a taste for the blasphemous, you'll want a copy of
"The Satanic Rituals."